In mathematics, in particular in the theory of schemes in algebraic geometry, a flat morphism f from a scheme X to a scheme Y is a morphism such that the induced map on every stalk is a flat map of rings, i.e.,
- fP: OY,f(P) → OX,P
A morphism of schemes f is a faithfully flat morphism if f is a surjective flat morphism.
Two of the basic intuitions are that flatness is a generic property, and that the failure of flatness occurs on the jumping set of the morphism.
The first of these comes from commutative algebra: subject to some finiteness conditions on f, it can be shown that there is a non-empty open subscheme Y′ of Y, such that f restricted to Y′ is a flat morphism (generic flatness). Here 'restriction' is interpreted by means of fiber product, applied to f and the inclusion map of Y′ into Y.
For the second, the idea is that morphisms in algebraic geometry can exhibit discontinuities of a kind that are detected by flatness. For instance, the operation of blowing down in the birational geometry of an algebraic surface, can give a single fiber that is of dimension 1 when all the others have dimension 0. It turns out (retrospectively) that flatness in morphisms is directly related to controlling this sort of semicontinuity, or one-sided jumping.
Flat morphisms are used to define (more than one version of) the flat topos, and flat cohomology of sheaves from it. This is a deep-lying theory, and has not been found easy to handle. The concept of étale morphism (and so étale cohomology) depends on the flat morphism concept: an étale morphism being flat, of finite type, and unramified.
Properties of flat morphisms
Let f : X → Y be a morphism of schemes. For a morphism g : Y′ → Y, let X′ = X ×Y Y′ and f′ = f × g : X′ → Y′. f is flat if and only if for every g, the pullback f′* is an exact functor from the category of quasi-coherent -modules to the category of quasi-coherent -modules.
Assume that f : X → Y and g : Y → Z are morphisms of schemes. Assume furthermore that f is flat at x in X. Then g is flat at f(x) if and only if gf is flat at x. In particular, if f is faithfully flat, then g is flat or faithfully flat if and only if gf is flat or faithfully flat, respectively.
- The composite of two flat morphisms is flat.
- The fibered product of two flat or faithfully flat morphisms is a flat or faithfully flat morphism, respectively.
- Flatness and faithful flatness is preserved by base change: If f is flat or faithfully flat and g : Y′ → Y, then the fiber product f × g : X ×Y Y′ → Y' is flat or faithfully flat, respectively.
- The set of points where a morphism (locally of finite presentation) is flat is open.
- If f is faithfully flat and of finite presentation, and if gf is finite type or finite presentation, then g is of finite type or finite presentation, respectively.
Suppose that f: X → Y is a flat morphism of schemes.
- If F is a quasi-coherent sheaf of finite presentation on Y (in particular, if F is coherent), and if J is the annihilator of F on Y, then , the pullback of the inclusion map, is an injection, and the image of f*J in is the annihilator of f*F on X.
- If f is faithfully flat and if G is a quasi-coherent -module, then the pullback map on global sections is injective.
Suppose now that h : S′ → S is flat. Let X and Y be S-schemes, and let X′ and Y′ be their base change by h.
- If f : X → Y is quasi-compact and dominant, then its base change f′ : X′ → Y′ is quasi-compact and dominant.
- If h is faithfully flat, then the pullback map HomS(X, Y) → HomS′(X′, Y′) is injective.
- Assume that f : X → Y is quasi-compact and quasi-separated. Let Z be the closed image of X, and let j : Z → Y be the canonical injection. Then the closed subscheme determined by the base change j′ : Z′ → Y′ is the closed image of X′.
If f : X → Y is flat, then it possesses all of the following properties:
- For every point x of X and every generization y′ of y = f(x), there is a generization x′ of x such that y′ = f(x′).
- For every point x of X, .
- For every irreducible closed subset Y′ of Y, every irreducible component of f−1(Y′) dominates Y.
- If Z and Z′ are two irreducible closed subsets of Y with Z contained in Z′, then for every irreducible component T of f−1(Z), there is an irreducible component T′ of f−1(Z′) containing T.
- For every irreducible component T of X, the closure of f(T) is an irreducible component of Y.
- If Y is irreducible with generic point y, and if f−1(y) is irreducible, then X is irreducible.
- If f is also closed, the image of every connected component of X is a connected component of Y.
- For every pro-constructible subset Z of Y, .
If f is flat and locally of finite presentation, then f is universally open. However, if f is faithfully flat and quasi-compact, it is not in general true that f is open, even if X and Y are noetherian. Furthermore, no converse to this statement holds: If f is the canonical map from the reduced scheme Xred to X, then f is a universal homeomorphism, but for X noetherian, f is never flat.
If f : X → Y is faithfully flat, then:
- The topology on Y is the quotient topology relative to f.
- If f is also quasi-compact, and if Z is a subset of Y, then Z is a locally closed pro-constructible subset of Y if and only if f−1(Z) is a locally closed pro-constructible subset of X.
If f is flat and locally of finite presentation, then for each of the following properties P, the set of points where f has P is open:
- Serre's condition Sk (for any fixed k).
- Geometrically regular.
- Geometrically normal.
If in addition f is proper, then the same is true for each of the following properties:
- Geometrically reduced.
- Geometrically reduced and having k geometric connected components (for any fixed k).
- Geometrically integral.
Flatness and dimension
Assume that X and Y are locally noetherian, and let f : X → Y.
- Let x be a point of X and y = f(x). If f is flat, then dimx X = dimy Y + dimx f−1(y). Conversely, if this equality holds for all x, X is Cohen–Macaulay, and Y is regular, then f is flat.
- If f is faithfully flat, then for each closed subset Z of Y, codimY(Z) = codimX(f−1(Z)).
- Suppose that f is flat and that F is a quasi-coherent module over Y. If F has projective dimension at most n, then f*F has projective dimension at most n.
- Assume f is flat at x in X. If X is reduced or normal at x, then Y is reduced or normal, respectively, at f(x). Conversely, if f is also of finite presentation and f−1(y) is reduced or normal, respectively, at x, then X is reduced or normal, respectively, at x.
- In particular, if f is faithfully flat, then X reduced or normal implies that Y is reduced or normal, respectively. If f is faithfully flat and of finite presentation, then all the fibers of f reduced or normal implies that X is reduced or normal, respectively.
- If f is flat at x in X, and if X is integral or integrally closed at x, then Y is integral or integrally closed, respectively, at f(x).
- If f is faithfully flat, X is locally integral, and the topological space of Y is locally noetherian, then Y is locally integral.
- If f is faithfully flat and quasi-compact, and if X is locally noetherian, then Y is also locally noetherian.
- Assume that f is flat and X and Y are locally noetherian. If X is regular at x, then Y is regular at f(x). Conversely, if Y is regular at f(x) and f−1(f(x)) is regular at x, then X is regular at x.
- Assume again that f is flat and X and Y are locally noetherian. If X is normal at x, then Y is normal at f(x). Conversely, if Y is normal at f(x) and f−1(f(x)) is normal at x, then X is normal at x.
Let g : Y′ → Y be faithfully flat. Let F be a quasi-coherent sheaf on Y, and let F′ be the pullback of F to Y′. Then F is flat over Y if and only if F′ is flat over Y′.
Assume that f is faithfully flat and quasi-compact. Let G be a quasi-coherent sheaf on Y, and let F denote its pullback to X. Then F is finite type, finite presentation, or locally free of rank n if and only if G has the corresponding property.
Suppose that f : X → Y is an S-morphism of S-schemes. Let g : S′ → S be faithfully flat and quasi-compact, and let X′, Y′, and f′ denote the base changes by g. Then for each of the following properties P, f has P if and only if f′ has P.
- Universally open.
- Universally closed.
- A homeomorphism.
- A universal homeomorphism.
- Quasi-compact and universally bicontinuous.
- Quasi-compact and a homeomorphism onto its image.
- Quasi-compact and dominant.
- Locally of finite type.
- Locally of finite presentation.
- Finite type.
- Finite presentation.
- An isomorphism.
- A monomorphism.
- An open immersion.
- A quasi-compact immersion.
- A closed immersion.
It is possible for f′ to be a local isomorphism without f being even a local immersion.
If f is quasi-compact and L is an invertible sheaf on X, then L is f-ample or f-very ample if and only if its pullback L′ is f′-ample or f′-very ample, respectively. However, it is not true that f is projective if and only if f′ is projective. It is not even true that if f is proper and f′ is projective, then f is quasi-projective, because it is possible to have an f′-ample sheaf on X′ which does not descend to X.
- EGA IV2, 2.1.1.
- EGA 0I, 6.7.8.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.3.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.11(iv).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.13(iii).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.1.6.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.1.7, and EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.13(ii).
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.4, and EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.13(i).
- EGA IV3, Théorème 11.3.1.
- EGA IV3, Proposition 11.3.16.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.11.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.8.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.7(i).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.2.16.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.2.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.4(i).
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.4(ii).
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.4(iii).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.3.5(i).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.3.5(ii).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.3.5(iii).
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.3.6(ii).
- EGA IV2, Théorème 2.3.10.
- EGA IV2, Théorème 2.4.6.
- EGA IV2, Remarques 2.4.8(i).
- EGA IV2, Remarques 2.4.8(ii).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.3.12.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.3.14.
- EGA IV3, Théorème 12.1.6.
- EGA IV3, Théorème 12.2.4.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 6.1.2.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 6.1.5. Note that the regularity assumption on Y is important here. The extension gives a counterexample with X regular, Y normal, f finite surjective but not flat.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 6.1.4.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 6.2.2.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.13.
- EGA IV3, Proposition 11.3.13.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.13.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.1.14.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.2.14.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 6.5.2.
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 6.5.4.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.5.1.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.5.2.
- EGA IV2, Proposition 2.6.2, Corollaire 2.6.4, and Proposition 2.7.1.
- EGA IV2, Remarques 2.7.3(iii).
- EGA IV2, Corollaire 2.7.2.
- EGA IV2, Remarques 2.7.3(ii).
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